Bella Vista Church of Christ

LIFELINES

08/15/2018

Jeff Grisham

 

The Story of Redemption

 

  There are some narratives in Scripture that are not exactly what we would call “family friendly.” In other words, if some of the biblical narratives were televised, we would probably not let our children watch them. Let’s look at a couple of examples.

 

  The first is found in Genesis 19 at the end of the account of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot and his two daughters end up living in a cave outside of Zoar. Since the daughters have lost their marriage prospects, they decide to get their father drunk, engage in sexual relations with him in hopes that they will have sons. They execute their plan and each of them has a son. The older of the two gives birth to Moab; the younger gives birth to Ben-ammi. These sons become the fathers of the Moabites and Ammonites, who will become thorns in the sides of God’s people in the future.

 

  The second example comes from Genesis 38 in the narrative of Judah’s family. Judah marries a Canaanite woman and fathers three sons. The first one, Er, marries a woman named Tamar. Er is so wicked that God kills him (Genesis 38:7). In keeping with the custom of levirate marriage, Judah’s next son, Onan marries Tamar, but refuses to raise children for his deceased brother and God put him to death also. Judah promises Tamar that she will be given to his youngest son when he is of age, but she must go back to live in her father’s house. Tired of waiting on a promise that did not seem to be any closer to being fulfilled, Tamar dresses as a prostitute and Judah acquires her services and she becomes pregnant and eventually gives birth to twins.

 

  The Bible tells one overall narrative of God who created and loves his creation. Despite humanity’s rebellion against God, he has continued to demonstrate his love by working throughout human affairs to bring about the reconciliation of the relationship with fallen humanity. While the Bible tells this overarching narrative, we find many other smaller narratives that may make us wonder how they fit in to the overall picture. The two listed above are prime examples of this. However, as we continue to read and study Scripture, we find God working things to his purpose. In fact we find these two unsettling narratives redeemed by God in the book of Ruth. Ruth is from Moab, a nation born out of an incestuous relationship between Lot and his oldest daughter. Ruth is redeemed by a man named Boaz, who is the great, great, great, great grandson of Perez, the son of Tamar by Judah (Matthew 1:3-5). From the marriage of Ruth and Boaz would eventually come David, the king. 

 

  There are many lessons that can be learned here.

• The first is that when we take matters into our own hands instead of relying on God to lead, things get ugly.

• The second is that God can redeem the ugliness of our pasts if we will submit to his leadership and trust in him. 

• Finally, this should lead us to thank God that he loves us enough to work through the brokenness of humanity to bring our Savior into the world so that we could be redeemed and forgiven.

 

—JEFF GRISHAM